Firearm-Related Suicides Among Women Veterans Are Rising. We Must Do More on Secure Gun Storage.

handgun with red rope lock Safe Firearm Storage can help prevent suicide VA U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

“Women’s gun organizations, such as A Girl & A Gun and Armed Women of America, are two natural avenues for reaching women.”

Published on, Nancy G. Espinosa, Russell Lemle


As gun ownership among women veterans has surged, so, too, have suicides where firearms are used.

In the recently released Department of Veterans Affairs‘ (VA) 2023 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, between 2020 to 2021, the suicide rate among women veterans jumped 24.1% — far greater than the 6.3% increase among male veterans. Firearms were used in 51.7% of women veterans’ suicides, more often than all other methods combined. The rate of women veterans dying by firearm suicide was nearly three times higher than for non-veteran women.

These grim statistics should serve as a wake-up call for the need to pay close attention to the risk of firearm suicide for women veterans. This work requires a hard look at how ready access to firearms during dark moments correlates with deadly outcomes.